Onondaga County Justice Center

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

At a time when police community relations are at historic lows across the country, Onondaga County lawmakers have made a move they hope will repair some of the trust between central New Yorkers and the Onondaga County Justice Center.  

There was a rare standing ovation for Onondaga County lawmakers Tuesday.

Applause followed a unanimous vote to create a jail oversight commission.  This independent group will review serious incidents at the Justice Center, and make reports to the legislature and the sheriff’s department.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A new, higher level of medical care is now available at the Onondaga County Justice Center. The new infirmary is located in the downtown Syracuse jail that holds prisoners awaiting trials or transfer to other facilities.

There has always been space for an infirmary in the almost 20-year-old jail, but cost considerations kept Onondaga County from staffing it. Now, the medical organization the county contracts out to can offer the advanced level of training needed for the staff that already works in the jail’s medical unit.

The United as One Coalition is taking its case for an Onondaga County jail oversight board to county lawmakers.  Coalition members want the Onondaga County Legislature to create a board that they say could ultimately save lives.